Bud Light sales plunge 21% in wake of Dylan Mulvaney fiasco
May 2, 2023 | 10:34 am
A staggering sales hit for Bud Light worsens with each passing week following an ill-fated marketing relationship with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney ̵[ads1]1; with the latest weekly figures showing a staggering 21% drop.
During the week ended April 22 — the most recent industry data available — Bud Light sales plunged 21% — accelerating from their 17% plunge a week earlier and an initial weekly drop of 6% when the controversy started during of the first week in April, according to Nielsen IQ and Bump Williams Consulting.
Meanwhile, beer volume — the number of cases sold, whether in packs of 12, 18 or 24 cans — fell an even steeper 26% last week, down from a 21% decline a week earlier and an initial decline of 11%, according to data.
It’s an indication that Bud Light’s core customers — who typically buy their beer in bulk — are rejecting the brand, beverage expert Bump Williams said in a Tuesday interview.
“Larger packs of Bud Light aren’t being bought — the 30-pack cases, the 20-packs, the 18-packs, the 12-packs — they’re all affected,” Williams told The Post. “”It’s going to be very, very difficult to reverse the decline.”
Bud Light remains the best-selling beer in the United States, with sales last year of $4.8 billion. By comparison, the No. 2 brand, Modelo Especial, sold $3.75 billion while Michelob Ultra generated $3.3 billion in sales, according to Williams’ Connecticut-based research firm.
Still, sharp sales declines in recent weeks have seen year-to-date sales down a painful 8%, threatening Bud Light’s leading position, the latest sales data shows. Unless parent Anheuser-Busch turns things around, “Bud Light is in serious trouble this year,” according to Williams.
“I think it risks losing that No. 1 position at the end of the 2023 calendar year to the Modelo Especial,” Williams said.
Posten has sought comment from Anheuser-Busch.
Earlier this month, Mulvaney began posting photos and videos of himself on social media pitching Bud Light — prompting outrage and calls for a boycott.
The controversy also prompted Bud Light to place two marketing executives — Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing, and her boss, Daniel Blake — on leave.
Williams said Heinerscheid, who was hired to lead marketing for Bud Light last year amid declining sales, was trying to tap into the progressive youth demographic.
“Her big miss was that I don’t think she understood who the central Bud Light customer was,” Williams said.
“When she came out with her comments, they were considered derogatory, insulting and juvenile,” Williams said. “And the Bud Light drinkers said, ‘Enough of that.'”
The company has been trying to win back the hearts and minds of those upset by the Mulvaney campaign.
Over the weekend, Bud Light released a “countrified” YouTube ad featuring young beer drinkers frolicking in the rain at a country music festival.
The ad, which premiered during last week’s live broadcast of the NFL Draft on ABC and ESPN, shows the youngsters opening a can of beer while a hit song by the Zac Brown Band plays in the background.
But critics accused the company of backtracking in an effort to regain consumer trust.
Mulvaney’s brand deals with Nike, Maybelline and Kate Spade have also sparked backlash.
Women’s magazine Allure recently put Mulvaney on its annual “A-List,” prompting calls for a boycott.